Friday, November 8, 2013

I do dislike this trend towards mixing upper and lowercase letters and inserting full-stops willy-nilly. Nor am I a lover of acronyms, but what the heck I think I'll jump right on the bandwagon to help get my point across.

In my last blog about the G8 Dementia Summit I ended with a comment about Teamwork (Together Everyone Achieves More) and I've been gathering my thoughts about why this is so important in this context.

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Simon Denegri when he was chairing a meeting of lay champions to talk about the DeNDRoN R.A.F.T register - is there a collective noun for a group of pesky acronyms? An annoyance of acronyms?

Simon is the National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research and I've been following his blog ever since as he speaks about many things that interest me.

So back to my thoughts on teamwork.

As a lover of poetry, which you'll find throughout my blog, I really enjoyed this poem about research that Simon penned on World Poetry Day back in March, reproduced here with his permission:

The research poem

If we work together
We can do it better
This thing called research.

This endeavour.

So here I am
Neither subject nor guinea pig
With no letters after my name.

But I know a thing or two.
About what it's like.
About what it's really like.

And all I ask
Is that you let me ask
Why, when, who and what for?

I'll work with you on a cure
Although I'll be long dead by then I'm sure

(But who knows we might get lucky).

If you'll also help me with the pain
And making the day
Worth waking for.

For when dusk does night betray
I want to be able to say
I made a difference for me, for you, for us.

Now that we are working together
Wouldn't you say
it's better?

This thing called life.

An excellent and heartfelt poem Simon and thank you allowing me to share it here.

I believe that teamwork is the key to success in finding a workable solution to many problems. Although working in isolation is both inevitable and desirable sometimes, it's when people get together and share ideas that the real magic happens.

Think of the way that large companies with a forward-thinking management team operate;  they provide places where their staff can meet to socialise and discuss their work. This article about Google HQ is a good example. Brainstorming sessions, in which no idea is dismissed as irrelevant or silly, can throw up some unexpected solutions.

Mike and I often throw ideas around between ourselves to find a solution to any manner of problem. It's that interaction with eachother that sparks off an idea in the other's mind.

I read an article recently in which Professor Henry Markham, an eminent neuroscientist, said that progress in treating dementia and other mental illness has come to a halt, despite an exponential rise in the number of research studies published. He blamed the lack of progress on what he described as a "reductionist" approach in which many scientists focused solely on their own area of expertise rather than sharing data and collaborating with others.

Teamwork improves processes and produces results quickly through the free exchange of ideas, information and data.

Think of that in global terms and you realise just how important a collaboration between the G8 countries could be. But what will actually come out of the G8 Summit? It will provide a platform on which to discuss the major issues facing both professionals and families and my hope is that it will result in a consensus on the way forward for research and care for people worldwide.

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